Joel Eriksson Ek and Frederick Gaudreau scored in the first period and the Minnesota Wild ended a seven-game slide by beating St. Louis 3-1 on Tuesday.
Matt Boldy added an insurance goal late and Filip Gustavsson made 23 saves for his first win in eight starts for Minnesota, playing its first game under coach John Hynes.
“You have all this change and everything like that, but I think it starts in the room, too. We haven’t been happy about the way we’ve been playing and the losses piling on top of each other. So, yeah, we had a motivated group tonight,” said Boldy.
A former bench boss with Nashville and New Jersey, Hynes took over Monday after the Wild fired Dean Evason.
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“It was a pleasure to coach the guys the way that they played tonight. It’s nice to get the win, but they made it easy on the coach tonight,” Hynes said.
Colton Parayko netted the Blues goal.
Jordan Binnington stopped 34 shots for St. Louis, including all 17 he faced in a second period owned by Minnesota. The Blues had just five shots on goal in the period.
“We knew they were going to come hard obviously with everything going on and have a good game,” said Blues center Robert Thomas. “We were in it right until the end but need a better effort.”
Boldy scored on a breakaway with 2:52 left in the third, his first goal in 11 games, and second in the 13 games he’s played. He had 31 goals last season.
St. Louis had a four-minute man-advantage midway through the third period but couldn’t get its second goal.
“We had some looks. I had one and (Torey Krug) had one,” said Brayden Schenn. “You got to try to find a way to capitalize and we didn’t. Power play’s been better as of late, but those are the ones you really need to get.”
Maybe it was as simple as the coaching change, but the Wild played with more energy which led to more offensive chances and better defensive coverage.
Six-win Minnesota is 31st in the league at 3.80 goals-against per game, ahead of only four-win San Jose (4.00). Additionally, the Wild has a league-worst 71.2 percent penalty kill, but St. Louis was 0 for 4 with the man advantage.
“Guys were hungry. Gus made beautiful saves and for sure that’s always good momentum for us,” Gaudreau said.
Eriksson Ek scored his team-high 11th goal for Minnesota less than three minutes into the game off a feed from Mats Zuccarello, but Parayko answered midway through the first from the right circle.
Zuccarello has a seven-game point streak and 22 points in 20 games. Only Kirill Kaprizov (24 last season) and Marian Gaborik (24 in 2005-06 and 23 in 2008-09) have recorded more points through their first 20 games of a Wild season.
Taking advantage of a screen by Marcus Foligno, Gaudreau scored his first goal of the season from the right dot late in the first to make it 2-1.
Minnesota has led after the first period in just three of its 20 games, winning each. The Blues fell to 0-8-0 when trailing after one.
The Wild were without Ryan Hartman, the team’s second-leading goal scorer who was suspended for two games by the league for slew-footing Detroit’s Alex DeBrincat on Sunday.
Blues: Host Buffalo on Thursday.
Wild: At Nashville on Thursday.